Saturday, May 3, 2014

PHILOMENA - THE FILM


A week or so ago, I watched the film Philomena. What a lovely, lovely movie. Judi Dench is superb and Steve Coogan is no slacker. He more than holds his own with Dame Judi, and that's no small feat. The chemistry between the two actors, Coogan, who plays an English journalist, and Dench, as Philomena, an Irish woman, is amazing when they come together to search for her lost son.  If you didn't see the film, which is taken from a true story, when it played in the theaters, I highly recommend you watch online or find a copy of the DVD.  As well as acting in the movie, Coogan co-wrote the script with Jeff Pope from the book of the same name, so it is truly his baby.

Be sure to watch the bonuses, the interviews with the real Philomena and actors, Judy Dench and Steve Coogan, that are included in the DVD.  Philomena Lee is quite a woman, and the film appears to have been a labor of love for the script writers and the actors.  In the interview, Coogan speaks of Philomena with true fondness and respect.

As Coogan, who played the journalist, Martin Sixsmith, was being interviewed, I thought of the present discussion and controversy over whether England is a Christian country initiated by Prime Minister David Cameron's speech at his Easter reception at Downing street. In the interview, Coogan, who is a lapsed Roman Catholic, notes that he and Pope, with permission from Sixsmith, took the liberty of making him a lapsed Catholic, though...
He's Church of England, so Protestant, which in England, basically, means athiest. (Laughter) You go to church, but you don't believe any of that stuff, you know?
Not the final word, I'm sure. 

Coogan is also a comedian, and, though the film is not a comedy, his comedic touch lightens what is, in fact, a quite moving and serious film.  One phrase spoken by Sixsmith refers to the nuns at the the convent in Rosecrea, Ireland, as, "The Sisters of Little Mercy".

Before I returned the DVD, I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the film one more time.

10 comments:

JCF said...

"He's Church of England, so Protestant, which in England, basically, means athiest. (Laughter) You go to church, but you don't believe any of that stuff, you know?"

Sounds like your bog-standard lapsed Catholic take on the CofE...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Exactly, JCF. I laughed out loud and went back to listen again to write down the quote.

James said...

He has it the wrong way round... we believe (almost) "all that stuff", but we don't go to church...

(By the way, the puffins are back on Burhou...)

Grandmère Mimi said...

To each his/her own, then. :-)

Last year, I was addicted to the puffin watch. I'll check in, and I fear the addiction will kick in again. I will blame you.

Prairie Soul said...

I share all of your observations about Philomena; it was a splendid film. Since I saw it in a theatre, I must put the DVD on my queue so that I can watch the extras you recommend.

Grandmère Mimi said...

You won't be sorry, Prairie Soul.

John said...

My wife and I watched the film recently and it was great. Steve Earl once said that "The purpose of art was to evoke some sort of emotion from a person." This film surely did that, at different times you experienced; pain, joy, laughter, and anger.

Grandmère Mimi said...

All around beautifully done. You're right, John. The film could so easily have been mushy or unrelievably dark and despairing.

Rmj said...

I did love that film, no less the ending where Philomena didn't forgive the not, but refused to even be angry with her, either.

It's still a life lesson to me. And the whole subject was handled so well by the screenplay and the actors and the director.

Simply wonderful.

Grandmère Mimi said...

An amazing and beautiful story all around. Everyone involved did a superb job. I'd have guessed Dame Judi and Coogan had worked together before, so good was the chemistry between the two.